The History of Core Renewal

Toward a Twenty-First Century Core

One of the challenges of Core education is to meaningfully connect the living tradition of the Jesuits with the best and most relevant ways of knowing in our time. Some questions do not change—they endure. New questions also arise over time; many of the complex problems we face could not be imagined several decades ago. Core education is thus dynamic, involving both change and continuity. Although we no longer require Greek and Latin of all students, as was once the case, connecting undergraduate education to the deeps traditions of intellectual rigor, self-formation, and spiritual growth is a central goal of the Jesuit Core.

In 1991, BC completed a three-year process of restructuring the Core. In 2012, with the help of design consultants from Continuum, BC again begin the process of renewing the Core. Such ongoing reflection and conversation are what makes a tradition come alive. The document Toward a Renewed Core (2013) provided an initial roadmap of the kinds of interdisciplinary courses that model for the students the meaningful connections and integration we ask them to undertake. This effort was followed in 2014 by The Vision Animating the Boston College Core Curriculum, which explicitly grounded Core Renewal in the Jesuit worldview and the principles and practices of the founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius Loyola. Together, the 2013 curricular proposal and the 2014 vision statement provide the imagination and direction for two kinds of interdisciplinary pilot courses to be offered 2015–2018:

  • Complex Problems courses are large team-taught, six-credit classes that address a contemporary problem.
  • Enduring Questions courses are linked pairs of distinct three-credit classes of approximately 20 students that meet separately, each taught by a faculty member from a different department. Both classes are connected by a common topic and set of questions as well as share some readings and assignments.

With the establishment of the University Core Renewal Committee, Core renewal also involves continuing conversations and innovative programming across the campus that explore the possibilities of Core education at a Jesuit university in the twenty-first century.

Founding Documents

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